Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesdays Are For Blathering

As I mentioned not too long ago, I recently obtained a skateboard, which as an aging male officially put me in the company of people like this:


In his bespoke Italian suit and designer dress shoes, Cyril Therien gracefully weaves in and out of street traffic like a fish in water.

As soon as he pulls up to Pergola, the Flatiron hot spot du jour, women are practically lining up to speak to the 39-year-old IT specialist as he parks his wheels.

“This thing is a chick magnet,” he says.

There is no way in hell Cyril Therien is a real person.

Anyway, unlike other bike bloggers who also ride skateboards (I'm looking at you, Stevil Kinevil), I can't do any tricks and I totally suck.  However, yesterday I used my skateboard in a practical application instead of simply flailing around on it on the street outside my house, and I must say that it was something of a revelation.

Basically, I had some errands to run in my neighborhood, and then I had to go all the way to Brooklyn.  And while I certainly could have done all of this by bicycle, I also had a limited amount of time, and I live far enough from Brooklyn that the only way the bike saves me time over the train is if said train derails.  (Which, I should point out, is becoming increasingly common these days.)  Ordinarily in a case like this I'd reach for the Brompton, but this time I figured "what the hell" and instead I grabbed the board with wheels.

Here's how it played out:

--Rode skateboard to post office and some other places, tried not to beat self to death with skateboard while suffering through postal service transaction;
--Boarded subway;
--Saved myself a time-sucking inter-division transfer by skating to my destination once I arrived in Brooklyn;
--On the way home, got off the train early, picked up some Chipotle, and skated the rest of the way home.

What can I say, something about riding a skateboard makes you hungry for Chipotle.

Anyway, the revelation wasn't that the skateboard worked out well as a handy way to augment the New York City transit system.  No, the revelation was how I felt while riding it--and the way I felt was deeply self-conscious.

See, as an internationally renowned bicycle blogger and author who's been riding a bike since the 1970s:


And who upgraded from training wheels to Skyway Tuff Wheel IIs:


And eventually reached the lofty heights of Category 3 road racing and "sport" level mountain biking:


I am simply no longer capable of feeling self-conscious while on the bike.  Sure, there was a time when I felt naked without a matching stretchy kit and wouldn't be caught dead on a bike without clipless pedals, but thankfully these days are long behind me.  Indeed, my only fear at this point is that I've become so laid back and ecumenical with regard to bikes that I might one day do the unthinkable and experiment with recumbents.

Oops, too late!



Rest assured I showered in scalding hot water afterward and have not been on one since.

The skateboard however was another story, and I found myself constantly worrying that I looked like a middle-aged hipster doofus--probably because that's exactly what I looked like.  More than that, I worried that I was doing it "right."  Not right in the sense of staying on it (I'm pretty capable of that), but right in the sense of not offending anybody.  After all, it's been like 30 years since I've used a skateboard for transportation, and back then I was too young to give a shit about stuff like whether or not I should be on the sidewalk or what's the least loud and stupid-looking way to stop this thing.  When I'm on a bike I know exactly where I should and shouldn't be, which rules to follow and which rules to bend, and so forth.  On the skateboard however I was some weird not-quite-pedestrian and not-quite-cyclist, and I didn't know shit.

And that was the revelation.  This is how a lot of people feel on the bike.  Just as I hadn't skated since I was a teenager, many New York City cyclists haven't been on a bike since adolescents and are wobbly and insecure.  And while most of them are capable of staying upright, no doubt many of them are emotionally quite fragile, and how much they worry about whether or not they're doing it "right" could be enough to decide whether they stick with the bike or simply give it up.

And while I wouldn't call riding the skateboard a form of penance (I enjoyed it too much), I would say it was humbling and lent me some much-needed empathy.  Certainly it's important to encourage cyclists during this important make-or-break period in their development.

As for whether or not I'll continue using the skateboard for commuting, we shall see.  But if I can ride around on a folding bike and maintain some shred of dignity, I can probably ride anything:


59 comments:

Bamaphred said...

Podiodio

Anonymous said...

First! East coast time!

Anonymous said...

Damn captcha got all hung up...
First loser!

Anonymous said...

First? and read it!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Interesting.
Scranus.

N/A said...

What do you call a skateboard version of a Fred?

Anonymous said...

Middle aged skater is 'Frod'

Dingbat said...

Are you suggesting you're going to ride Michael Flatley?

Billy said...

If you go electric (boosted board, evolve, genesis) not only can you silently glide uphill, you get brakes too.

Anonymous said...

The burning question is: did the Chipotle come with any salmonella?

Anonymous said...

Were the women lining up to talk to you?

Anonymous said...

I'm slower on a skateboard than a bike too.

No wonder you were late today :-P

wle said...

Um, what you need is a python-draped skateboard, humanely killed, of course.. Those Pergola chicks, weren't all that hot, either, btw....

Anonymous said...

Jesus not even podium.

hellbelly said...

Dude, we are all there. Mostly a mild rider of a board versus the "Wild Riders of Boards" these days. Awesome!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro7WDgMOntY

Dan Newton said...

That article was from 2015. Even your midlife crisis is out-of-date! I'm sure the new hot midlife crisis is something like, I don't know, roller skates? But like the ones from the 50s, not roller blades.

Anonymous said...

Wow... Skateboarding...next will it be rollerblading?

1904 Cadardi said...

There's no way "Cyril" is an "IT Specialist". He's an inside-sales middle-manager that occasionally has to talk to customers about "technical" things that he doesn't really understand and ends up making grandiose promises that the real engineers can't possibly deliver in the hopes that he'll get a bonus commission and go on the high sales reward junket to the Bahamas with his frat brother bro that got him the job in the first place and also told him Pergola was the latest hot spot and they should skate down there and chase some tail. Not judging, just saying.

BamaPhred said...

Hopefully there is an inoculation to prevent the spread of Dapper Deck skateboarding.

bad boy of the south said...

hey,look... sandals!

Youbetcha!! said...

I prefer my chick magnet that comes with four paws and a leash.

Schisthead said...

1904 Cadardi:

Nice rundown, but I would also suggest it's likely that said frat bro also works at mentioned media diarrhea machine. I hear that's how business 'works' these days.

McFly said...

#whatvansyourunning

DB said...

Hey!
Pergola has a Hookah menu.

Freddy Murcks said...

Out where I live in fly over country, the hot new midlife crisis activity is stand up paddleboarding. I assume it's the hot new midlife crisis activity everywhere in Canada's hairy balls, but I wouldn't know that for sure.

Bluezurich said...

lots of boards, not a lot of good knees

Steely Danzig said...

My midlife crisis activity is worry and regret.

dop said...

I knew it. Cyril Therien is Canadian

Bryan Bracy said...

I don't know what's worse: Trump bashing or skateboarding.

bieks said...

Hmm, yeah, was riding my Brompton in a small town this weekend and the consensus among the locals was I looked pretty fucking stupid (and apparently hard of hearing).

Amazingly still apparently a big jump down in self-respect (I still have any?) for this oldentard to be seen a skateboard - or more likely kick scooter - more in line with my skill level.

wle said...

After a fire forced him from his Coloniale Avenue apartment, Cyril Therien returned to see the damage and pick up a few of his things. But he found that someone had returned before him and stolen valuables that hadn't been undamaged.

Freddy Murcks said...

If you think cycling has a doping problem, it's apparently has nothing compared to track and field. This is a bit off topic, but this is at least a cycling-related issue.

dancesonpedals said...

I look at the bright side; while many pro cyclists are dopers, very few heroin addicts are cyclists.

No Mail for You said...

Post Office, Trump just announced that Trans AM drivers can't receive service in them. I had no idea they had drive-thru windows.

What's his face got to do the French thing with those two babes?

Anonymous said...

lucky for me, the only times i'm accused of doping is when making inane comments.

Six of One, a Half Dozen of the Others said...

Taking a break from reading about Trump's speech to Boy Scouts, yesterday I read an article about two guys who are in a big time feud over which one can lay claim to having invented the rubber testicles you see hanging off the trailer hitches of pickup trucks. All three of them would seem to fit into the same social orbit.

McFly said...

We we're a tad self conscious riding tandems through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge and back......but we got over it pretty quick with giddy laughter. Horns were honked and stank eye was thrown but we were immune to it after 20 minutes.

Well, me and the kids (they had their own) were, honey stayed freaked out the whole time.

Anonymous said...

I think it is cool when people take up new things or restart old ones, you're never too old and all that. All that should matter is whether you enjoy it. Anyone who would look askance is just a judgmental prick. As a New Yorker, I know that it is your birthright to worry about these type of things but it's not like you decided to take up miming. but it is a good exercise in humility, which I doubt you need (although many do).

Drock said...

After 2,000 miles of skating around the country, one of my legs is the size of a 100 year oak, the other looks like a pencil. Someone along the way yelled, " switch it up man" but I wasn't having it

Steely Danzig said...

B. Bracy,
Skateboarding is cool, but difficult. Trump bashing is necessary and he makes it very easy- seeing how he is an arrogant, hateful piece of excrement.

Stephen Hill said...

#whatabecsyouriding

wishiwasmerckx said...

F. Murcks, the hot, hot, hot Kara Goucher, who has received coverage on here before, is one of those slated to receive an upgraded medal in your linked article.

Anonymous said...

#whathardnessareyouskating?

tobeistobex said...

Blathering? Certainly you meant "To Blave...."

Leslie Gore said...

It's my pardon, and I'll pardon if I want to.

ken e. said...

the newer dual density wheels are the (insert outdated/newer than new school cool word here).

DITC HTEK

The lord of flatulance said...

Look at the cranium on that kid! It's a good you grew into that thing or you'd have a terrible time finding a helmet that'd fit.

Flyover bike commuter said...

Hey 1904 Cadardi, put down and move away from the Dilbert compilation.

Otherwise today's comments are a brilliant reflection on middle age. And, for those who don't "get it", you will sooner than you think, if you're lucky.

Flyover bike commuter said...

That may not be wcrm's cranium. It could be a hair helmet, an energy absorbing pompadour, so to speak.

Uh huh said...

Amusing, self-righteous bluster = mocks recumbents…rides a Brompton.

Perfectly ok!

BamaPhred said...

Ahhh memories of middle age
Started with aluminum, had a fling with crabon, dreamed of steel...
With the onset of senior citizenhood
I can say
Unequivocally
Titanium is the tits

Anonymous said...

Great perspective on this, Snob. I'm considering buying a push micro scooter. Is there a ScooterSnobNYC that could recommend a good one?

Tony Gawk said...

The toughest part of being a hip skater boy would be deciding between the mom and the daughter.

dancesonpedals said...

Should it be, 'titanium are the tits?'

Asking for a friend

Rapha Kramden said...

dancesonpedals - Like Titanium, tits are ideally vertically stiff and laterally complaint. But only if you're very lucky.

Wesley Bellairs said...

You will stop worrying about how you look and how you are percrived by others after puberty.

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